On Radio 4, in the morning, prime time, familiar faces. Like the all too familiar voice of modern angels (occupying a city, a radio stations, a culture), Brian Cox. With his infinite smile, physics seems to have stolen the show. On the programme they are chatting as to whether not quantum physics is the ground of life. I am struck by their infinite confidence in their ‘infinite monkey cage.’ (By the way, the phrase, ‘infinite monkey cage’ as a reference to the universe betrays utmost hubris. The Russian film director, Tarkovsky was right in his (seemingly)sci-fi, Solaris when saying that our objective is not to know the cosmos but to colonise it. So here we are with our new colonisers.)
I am taken aback by the fact how easy it is for these spokesmen of the new ‘infinite good news’ to fill up the vacuum which was created when religion was evacuated from our brave (infinitely) new world.
Why do they think that ‘what physics can describe’ is the ultimate reality? As the reality? While soaring as high as the illusions of explaining the origins of human life with their new (infinite) theory of everything, we should just pause for a while. Not so much about our being puzzled as to how an earth is it that Christians, with their theology, remain silent and dazzled by this new ‘angelic’ quantum show. Rather, instead, we should stop and be challenged by prophet Jeremiah: what is really real?
It turns out, that history, human history as a continuum of past, present and future, is that very reality which should humble us. In contrast to our responsibility and accountability for what happens in it, the omni-science of Brian Cox and his new role-model friends seems to be infinitely small.
Quite possibly, it may quietly turn out that the voice of the twenty fist century was not their newly canonised discourse (by BCC). Instead, it is the brave stance of Jeremiah who wants us to spend quality time in understanding how God is the Lord of History. ‘Then the Lord put forth his hand, and touched my mouth. And the Lord said unto me, Behold, I have put my words in thy mouth.’ We can find it far more challenging to see God’s words, complexly interwoven with the living tissue of history as the ‘condition of life’. There is little hope, but nothing is impossible, our quantum physicists will have the imagination to see their laws are part of that flow of matter and life which itself comes from these Words.
Just as a last word of our being puzzled by the Coxian infinite confidence. Why do these chatty new high priests of the totalised (monkey) self think that religion and faith is as light as their morning chat-show? Why does not it occur to them that engaging God requires time? Yes, and that is the great lesson of Jeremiah, Christian faith requires time just as research does. Nay, perhaps it requires infinitely more than science spends with the ‘real’?
These are verbal Icons, expressions of how the world is seen from Saint Augustine's..